Business At A Glance
- Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
- Home Based: Can be operated from home.
- Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
- Online Operation? No
Public relations professionals work with media types–magazines andnewspaper editors and radio and TV producers–to get their clients’stories in the news. Because there’s an awful lot of media hype outthere, and there are only so many stories the media can–or wantsto–cover in an edition, PR people work hard to come up with new anglesto attract attention and present their clients in a positive light.
Public relations agencies also provide their clients with materialslike press kits, annual reports, speeches and brochures–all the toolsthat go toward making that company, celebrity or celebrity-hopeful lookgood. If you like exercising your creative abilities, making thosemental stretches, and staying on top of trends and issues while blowingyour clients’ horns, then this is the business for you. The publicrelations agency’s advantages are that you get to use that creativityto the max, you’re always on your mental toes, and you deal with avariety of interesting people all day. And you can work from your home.A degree or certificate in public relations is a plus but not anabsolute necessity.
You’ll need top-notch written and verbalskills–you’ll have to write catchy, pertinent press releases andstories for magazines and newspapers as well as be able to convinceeditors and producers to use your material instead of somebody else’s.You should be familiar with the types of stories various publicationsand TV programs (from the local news to those late-night talk shows)are looking for and the deadlines they work under, and you’ll need theconfidence to deal with all these stressed-out types on their own terms.
Your clients can be just about any business, professional individual orcelebrity you care to go after–including nonprofit organizations andgovernment entities. As a newbie, you might want to specialize incertain types of businesses or professions, say doctors, writers,bioengineering firms or trendy software companies. And of course,companies in the industries you already know are always promisingprospects.
The best way to nab new clients is by networking and throughpersonal contacts. Call in favors from everybody you know in anyrelated fields. Start your own public relations campaign bydirect-mailing brochures to prospects. Volunteer yourself as a guest ona local radio chat show.
You’ll need a computer system with the usual office software, a laser printer, a color printer, a scanner and a fax machine.